Game of Thrones has made it into a fair few ‘Best of’ lists, whether they are celebrating season eight’s achievements in the context of 2019 TV or the show as a whole for lists encompassing the entire last decade. Now, truly at the end of the year, there’s been an explosion of such lists and of course Game of Thrones can be found in most of them!
We already covered TVLine’s best deaths and sexiest scenes of 2019, but since then this ‘tits and dragons’ show has made it into more: Jaime knighting Brienne as one of 2019’s “Best Quotes” (that’s one of our award nominees too! Go vote!); Brienne and Jaime’s embrace as “Best First Kiss”; the episode in which all of the aforementioned happens, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” as the “Best Bottle Episode”; the Battle of Winterfell as “TV Event That Lived Up to the Hype”; Daenerys celebrating the defeat of King’s Landing, with Drogon’s wings behind her turning her into a true dragon, as one of the “The Coolest TV Scenes of 2019”; Jon killing Daenerys as one of “Best Plot Twists”; and, in very much the same vein, Daenerys as one of the TV characters this year to have a “Horrible Year”… can’t argue with that! The series finale by itself, however, got a C.
Season eight is one of Gamesradar’s “25 Best TV Shows of 2019”. At the #21 spot, it’s pointed out that, though “a bit rushed,” it was still “spectacular stuff.”
In Variety’s “25 Best TV Shows of the Decade”, Game of Thrones takes the #16 spot, as “the ultimate and perhaps final example of a consensus TV hit in the era of the fragmented audience,” and “a show that stands in for its era.” It was also celebrated in their “Best Episodes of the Decade” list, with Blackwater, the show’s first battle episode and first location-contained episode as well, which makes it stand out even today.
As for their “Best TV Performances of the Decade”, it’s difficult to argue with Variety‘s choice, even though Thrones had such a fantastic (and gigantic) cast: Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister stands not only for the show but for herself, as she “ported in sharp, askew humor as well as real fear” to a character that could’ve just been the stereotypical evil queen. “This monster was, at every moment, human,” as they put it.
Thrones is also one of People’s “Best TV Shows of the Decade”, with its impact on the medium being highlighted in particular, as “entertainment writers have been vigilantly scouting for whatever new series could be billed as ‘the next Game of Thrones.'”
Tell-Tale TV admits it “struggles a bit in its final seasons” once there was no more source material “but it also set an impossibly high bar of success for future cable dramas to aspire to,” became “the last broadly appealing, culturally unifying water cooler show we see for a while”, and “brought fantasy television into the mainstream.”
Popsugar calls Game of Thrones one of their favorite TV dramas of the past decade, as “a worldwide phenomenon” that “solidified fantasy as a great TV genre.”
Game of Thrones is named one of the shows that shaped the decade at GQ, who highlight, as many others have, that the show was the last bastion of appointment TV: “With the rise of the binge-watch, this was the decade that we did away with appointment viewing—except when it came to dragons, dwarfs, and zombies.”
According to Vulture, it was “without question, the TV juggernaut of the 2010s and the show that captured the public’s imagination more than any other.” Despite an “uneven final season,” a fact remains: “While a lot of shows have tried to be the next Game of Thrones (and many more will try in the decade-to-come), there is only one true king.”
RollingStone places Thrones as the 15th best show of the decade and points out that its “sheer ambition, and its ability to most of the time keep all of its disparate threads feeling vital and tied to one another, remains a staggering achievement.”
Much broader than most, Refinery29′s listicle, “Top Pop Culture Moments of the Last Decade”, still manages to name Game of Thrones as the “top pop culture” thing for four different years: 2011, for its premiere; 2013, for the Red Wedding; 2015, for Jon Snow’s death; and, in much less positive terms, 2019 for its controversial final season.
Dan Weiss and David Benioff’s show makes it to the TOP 5 in USA Today’s “Best TV Shows of the 2010s”, focusing on the “impeccable acting, gorgeous costuming and an expansion of our collective ideas about what TV can achieve.”
Also as the fifth best TV show this decade, at Decider Meghan O’Keefe claims that “though its final season left a sour taste in many viewers’ mouths, Game of Thrones redefined what television could be in the 2010s,” and that “there’s no way to talk about TV in the 2010s without bending the knee for the awesome power of Game of Thrones.”
At The Hollywood Reporter, it was less of an editorial affair and more of a poll: more than 3,500 members of the film and TV academies and other industry sources were asked to pick their favorite shows of the decade, and Game of Thrones got the top spot, winning over nineteen other worthy entries, including Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Downton Abbey, Stranger Things, Fleabag, The Americans, Black Mirror, Fargo, and many others.
Finally, at CNET, the HBO series was named their most influential TV show of the decade! Beating the likes of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, Stranger Things, Modern Family, Westworld, True Detective, Rick and Morty, The Expanse and many others, Game of Thrones is justly described as “a televisual juggernaut, the absolutest of absolute units when it comes to television in the 2010s.”
That’s it! 2019 is almost over and so is the decade (not technically, but let’s go with it, okay?), and Game of Thrones defined both more than most any other piece of art or entertainment one could think of. Yes, it’s all over, but our memories remain–and, of course, we’ve got the books and House of the Dragon to look forward to. Let’s hope the 2020’s are even half as amazing as the 2010’s were for this fandom!